Despite wide-spread destruction to Mosul University, students have returned to their classes.
The University of Mosul is considered one of the most important and prestigious educational and academic institutions in Iraq. A degree from the university was a sign of great prestige, especially in the Arab world and within Iraq itself. More than 80,000 students have graduated since the foundation of the university in April 1967.
Throughout the occupation of Mosul by ISIS, the group sought to degrade this once grand institution and rob it of its cultural, literary and academic heritage. When the group occupied the city of Mosul, they wasted no time in looting the university and its rich library. The militants destroyed and damaged many of the colleges in the university. During their occupation of the campus, the militants ransacked many of the facilities or and stole the equipment available in order to make weapons.
Among the most tragic losses was the University’s library. Over 8,000 books and 100,000 manuscripts in its library were believed to have been destroyed in the group’s attempts to cleanse Mosul of ‘heretical’ influences. The library was also torched by the retreating militants as part of their scorched-earth tactics. Significant damage was also incurred due to heavy fighting between the militants and the Iraqi forces towards the end of 2016.
However, since the liberation of the eastern side of Mosul in the beginning of 2017, alumni and current students from across the country have taken it upon themselves to restore and rehabilitate the university and its famous library. In an act of unity and solidarity, the University of Kufa donated 9000 books to the university’s library last year in an effort to show that Iraq is united.
Slowly but surely students are beginning to return to the university to continue their studies, which have been put on hold for years as a result of ISIS occupation and war. The University of Mosul is recovering from the three years of destruction and closure under ISIS.
Government officials and volunteers, many of whom are students and staff members, have been working tirelessly to revive the university. As a result, there is a buzz of life in the university once again.